An overview of extra‐curricular education for sustainable development (ESD) interventions in UK universities

Bryan P. Lipscombe (Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester, Chester, UK)
Cynthia V. Burek (Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester, Chester, UK)
Jacqueline A. Potter (Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Chris Ribchester (Department of Geography and Development Studies, University of Chester, Chester, UK)
Martin R. Degg (Department of Geography and Development Studies, University of Chester, Chester, UK)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 11 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent and type of extra‐curricular ESD‐related practice in UK universities and to record opinions about the utility of such work.

Design/methodology/approach

A postal questionnaire survey of all UK universities was undertaken in 2006. Over half (51 per cent) of the UK's 140 universities with degree‐awarding powers responded.

Findings

Extra‐curricular ESD‐related interventions were found to be widespread and in 31 per cent of cases were the primary approach to ESD. Respondent opinions highlight a paradox whereby the voluntary nature of extra‐curricular interventions can both extend and limit the reach of ESD.

Research limitations/implications

The survey approach gathers impressions of UK practice at one point in time, only. Further case study research to look at the impact of such practice is now under way.

Practical implications

In the UK, much recent work to support ESD has focused on efforts to support curriculum change. The paper suggests that attention should also be directed at the extra‐curricular sphere in parallel.

Originality/value

This paper partly fills a gap in the literature, there being little empirical enquiry into extra‐curricular ESD in higher education.

Keywords

Citation

Lipscombe, B.P., Burek, C.V., Potter, J.A., Ribchester, C. and Degg, M.R. (2008), "An overview of extra‐curricular education for sustainable development (ESD) interventions in UK universities", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 222-234. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370810885853

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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